Parkinson’s disease is a life challenge that demands active adaptation. The Alexander Technique can help.
PD affects the motor control areas in the brain, resulting in symptoms such alterations of posture, balance and stiffness. The Alexander Technique has been clinically shown to help with these specific symptoms.
In addition, practice of the Alexander Technique is a way for meeting the world, even as the world changes and we continue to change. When faced with a stimulus — for example, a specific mobility challenge or challenging social interaction — we learn to first come to a full stop and give ourselves time to think through our response in a different way, which was developed by FM Alexander over 100 years ago.
Automatic responses are fixed responses, but we are changing constantly. The Alexander Technique allows a more dynamic, considered response to confidently face new challenges in living.
Research supports the efficacy of the Alexander Technique for people living with Parkinson’s. One randomized controlled trial (Stallibrass, Clinical Rehabilitation, 2002) showed that 24 lessons over 12 weeks brought improvements in the Self-assessment Parkinson’s Disease Disability Scale (SPDDS), Beck Depression Inventory and Attitudes to Self Scale – even six months after the lessons. Another study (Dennis, Journal of Gerontology, 1999) showed a 32% increase in functional reach, a standard measure of balance.
As a result, Alexander technique is currently recommended for PD patients by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Evidence in the UK, and has been approved by the VA’s Complementary and Integrative Health (CIH) Specialty Team.